It’s Hispanic Heritage Month! This annual celebration of the cultures and contributions of Americans who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, runs from September 15 through October 15.
Here are 5 things to know:
September 15 is the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Also celebrating their independence during Hispanic Heritage Month are Mexico (September 16) and Chile (September 18).1
Hispanic people are the largest minority in the United States. There are an estimated 58.9 million Hispanic individuals residing in the United States, or 18.1% of the population. By the year 2060, it’s projected that 28.6% of the population will be Hispanic.
“Hispanic” and “Latino” don’t necessarily mean the same thing. In general, “Hispanic” refers to people descended from Spanish-speaking populations while “Latino” and the more recent variation Latinx refer to those descended from Latin America.2 The U.S. Census Bureau uses the terms interchangeably to refer to “a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race”.3
There is a vast wealth gap between Hispanic and White households in the United States. On average, a Hispanic household has $6,300 in assets compared with $140,500 for a White household.4
The economic future for Hispanic people in the United States is looking brighter. The poverty rate for Hispanic people has reached a historic low of 18.3%. While still higher than the overall national average of 12.3%, the downward trend in poverty along with increased income, entrepreneurship, and homeownership point to great potential for this diverse group of Americans.5
BONUS: Five Famous Firsts by Hispanic Americans6 :
1. Member of U.S. Congress: Joseph Marion Hernandez, 1822.
2. Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee: Roberto Clemente, 1973.
3. Astronaut: Franklin Chang-Diaz, 1986.
4. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee: Carlos Santana, 1998.
5. U.S. Supreme Court Justice: Sonia Sotomayor, 2009.
1CNN Library: Hispanics in the US Fast Facts
2Hispanic Network: The Difference Between Hispanic and Latino
3United States Census Bureau: Hispanic or Latino Origin
4Prosperity Now: Racial Wealth Snapshot: Latino Americans
5Hispanic Wealth Project: 2019 State of Hispanic Wealth Report
6Infoplease: Famous Firsts by Hispanic Americans